Monday, December 8, 2008

Delegates from Association of American Universities (AAU) during a meeting with Iranian Officials expressed their concerns regarding Esha's arrest

According to the Cornell Daily Sun, while in Iran from Nov. 14 to Nov. 20, David Skorton, President of Cornell University, along with several other delegates from Association of American Universities (AAU), met with Iranian Minister of Science, Research and Technology Mohammad Mehdi Zahedi. Skorton said that during meetings with academic faculties and with Zahedi, the issue of roadblocks to scholastic freedom were brought up.

The article further states that:

"The general issue and specific issue [of safety] were brought up on numerous occasions, with faculty, with university administrators and with the minister of science," Skorton said. AAU spokesperson Barry Toiv stated in an e-mail, "Now, a very high percentage of the country receives a college education. Interestingly, 60 percent of that student population is women, despite the severe limits placed on women in Iranian society as a whole."

According to Leebron, the delegation expressed their concerns to Minister Zahedi regarding "what [the delegates] would call interference" with academic freedom. They were particularly concerned with American-born Esha Momeni, a graduate student at California State University at Northridge, who was arrested in Tehran in mid-October while researching the Iran's women's movement. He called this case "one particular point of difficulty."

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